Rome – Chapter 4

“She would have loved the salad. Fruit was Sylvia’s favorite.”

“Yes, and have you ever seen so many flowers? My mother, Helen, was on the PTA and both the Church and Community actions boards, and had her own café, remember Chez Helen, across from JP High School, and she didn’t receive these many flowers.”

“Wasn’t Sylvia Polish? I mean from Poland?”

“Makes you wonder. Judy’s the only florist in town and I know since she moved into that new, smaller shop, after her Bob passed away, that she could never in a million years supply these many tulips.”

“Oh….”

“And we know they didn’t grow them in that yard of theirs.”

Tom didn’t read the actual obituary on page seven of the Rome Daily until after he had cut it out with the kitchen scissors and taped it to the fridge. Surrounded by all the flashy magazine colors and snapshots of smiling women holding up diet and European products, it looked small and plain. Beside the clear Scotch tape that held up ‘Sylvia B. LaMann, of 193 East Street, Rome, passed away Monday at her home. She is survived by…a young girl was waving and holding a plate of pastries out for her family who were also smiling around a kitchen table in Switzerland.

Tom stood and read the obituary. He read it again. The guests told loud stories in soft voices in different rooms about the house. And then, forgetting to put his hat on his head, Tom walked out and closed the front door gently behind him.

“What does her husband do all day, anyways? After he retired, he just disappeared.”

“She had to organize all the bills.”

“She did own this house, didn’t she?”

“What in the world is with all these apples? He probably spent their last hard-earned dime on apples!”

“I was expecting a better wake for Sylvia than just apples, too.”

“Makes you wonder…”

“Yes it does.”

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